Fresh Vs Frozen Eggs
Each of our donor programs operates very differently and has advantages and disadvantages with respect to each other, and the choice as to which is best for you depends on your medical situation, your goals, and your timing needs. Ask yourself some questions to narrow down the choice, but you should also talk to your doctor. Here are some factors to consider:
HOW QUICKLY DO YOU NEED THE EGGS?
If creating your embryos quickly is important then the frozen egg program has the strong advantage. A fresh donor cycle can take from 2 to 6 months and will depend on your donor’s availability (for example, college exams, vacation, already in a cycle for another couple), how she stimulates and, if she lives in another city than your doctor, then she will have to travel. You also have to wait for her to pass medical screening. By contrast. frozen eggs are available immediately, which means you can create your embryos in a matter of days.
HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU WANT?
If you want multiple children, then extra embryos may be important and the fresh egg program has the advantage. While not always the case, a fresh egg retrieval cycle usually results in more eggs (and therefore more embryos) than you would receive in the frozen egg program. And that means more embryos available to create future siblings. The frozen egg program is designed to create a limited number of embryos and is better suited to those wanting only one child.
ARE THERE SPERM OR UTERINE ISSUES?
If you have sperm or uterine issues then the fresh egg program has the advantage because it typically results in more eggs, which will give you more chances at fertilization if there are sperm issues or embryo transfers if there are uterine issues.
HOW IMPORTANT IS CONVENIENCE?
If convenience is important then the frozen egg program has a significant advantage over fresh cycle. In the frozen egg program you will simply select your donor and those eggs will be available for fertilization. That means you will have complete flexibility with your schedule. By contrast, in the fresh egg program you will have to go through all of the testing, coordination and medical treatment necessary to retrieve the eggs, which can take months.
DO YOU PLAN ON GENETICALLY TESTING YOUR EMBRYOS?
There are many reasons to genetically test (PGS/PGD) your embryos before transfer, including detecting genetic issues or determining the sex of an embryo for family balancing purposes. However, genetic testing usually eliminates many embryos, which means that a fresh egg program will have the advantage since it can be expected to give you more eggs (and embryos). For genetic testing in the frozen egg program, we recommend that you purchase at least 10 eggs.
HOW IMPORTANT IS CERTAINTY?
In the fresh egg program, you will bear the entire risk and cost of the donor retrieval cycle and have no guarantee that a minimum number of eggs will be retrieved or that the retrieval cycle will even be completed. By contrast, in the frozen donor program you are guaranteed that the number of eggs you purchased will be viable and available for fertilization. The agency bears the risk of the screening and retrieval cycle for the donor.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WIDEST CHOICE OF DONORS?
Frozen egg programs are relatively new and very expensive to establish and expand since the agency must fund all of the up-front costs and assume all the risk of the screening and egg retrieval. As a result, there are many more donors available in fresh egg programs than there are in frozen egg programs. However, frozen egg programs are expanding rapidly and this may not always be the case. Further, frozen egg programs attempt to recruit a selection of donors with different ethnic backgrounds and physical characteristics, so you may very well be able to find the donor of your dreams!
HOW IMPORTANT IS COST?
Frozen egg programs generally cost less than fresh donation cycles, although the trade off is that you typically receive fewer eggs in the frozen egg program. It will vary depending on the donor you select, but six egg packages in the AEB program start at $16,500 plus your doctor’s fees for the embryo transfer (average $4,000). By comparison, a fresh donation cycle will range from $30,000 to $40,000+, depending on your doctor and the donor you choose.